A 22-year-old popular YouTube star has reportedly been killed by her own father, per local authorities.
As reported by The Guardian, Tiba al-Ali – whose channel boasted over 18,000 subscribers on the video-sharing platform – was strangled to death by her father on January 31, according to Iraq interior ministry spokesperson Saad Maan.
Ali’s death took place in Iraq’s southern province of Diwaniya.
Maan announced the heartbreaking news on Twitter, revealing that the young social media star had raised concerns with authorities about her family, after they became unhappy with the fact that she had chosen to live alone in Turkey.
Ali appearing in a cooking tutorial on her YouTube channel. Credit: YouTube
The spokesperson’s tweets reveal that police had attempted to mediate and “resolve the family dispute in a definitive manner”, but were left shocked when Ali’s father turned himself in and “admitted in his initial confessions” that he had killed his daughter.
Further details regarding the family’s “dispute” were not provided, but a police source has reportedly told AFP that the dispute had been ongoing for several years.
Ali and her fiancé on her YouTube channel. Credit: YouTube
The same police source added that Ali had traveled to Turkey back in 2017 on a family trip, but refused to return home to Iraq and chose to live in the European country.
ABC News has reported that unverified recordings have surfaced indicating that her father was unhappy with his daughter’s decision to live in Turkey.
Additionally, the Mirror has reported that local Iraqi news sources have stated that Ali returned to her home country in January to show support for the nation’s soccer team in the Arabian Gulf Cup. But upon her return, she was “kidnapped” by her family.
Women in our societies are hostage to backward customs due to the absence of legal deterrents & gov measures – which currently are not commensurate with the size of domestic violence crimes. Yes to legislating the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. #طيبة_العلي
— Ala Talabani آلا طالباني (@TalabaniAla) February 2, 2023
Per The Guardian, the death has been described as a so-called “honor killing”, which has sparked outrage throughout Iraq. Weteran politician Ala Talabani responded to Ali’s death by tweeting: “Women in our societies are hostage to backward customs due to the absence of legal deterrents and government measures – which currently are not commensurate with the size of domestic violence crimes.
“Yes to legislating the Anti-Domestic Violence Law.”
Ali in the final video post. Credit: YouTube
The Mirror adds that, under Article 409 of the Iraqi Penal Code, judges are granted permission to impose lenient sentences on those who kill for “honorable motives” or under provocation.
Ali had amassed thousands of followers on social media thanks to her vlogs, in which, she spoke about her day-to-day life and relationship with her fiancé.
Aya Majzoub, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, has responded to Ali’s killing by saying: “Until the Iraqi authorities adopt robust legislation to protect women and girls … we will inevitably continue to witness horrific murders.”
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